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The Range Rover SVAutobiography is Purebred British Luxury

The Range Rover SVAutobiography is Purebred British Luxury

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Welcome everybody, to the Range Rover SVAutobiography, the most expensive, the most luxurious car Land Rover can sell you.  Besides being the most expensive, it is also the most powerful series production Range Rover ever made. Ever.

Starting at just under £149,000, the SVAutobiography will be available in either standard or long-wheelbase form. It is available with a two-tone colour combination, which combines a black upper-body finish with a choice of nine colours for the bottom section. The SVAutobiography also includes a number of bespoke features such as a new chrome front grille, bespoke badging at the rear of the vehicle as well as new lettering on the bonnet.

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The engine, which is a 5.0 litre supercharged V8 producing 542 bhp, comes straight out of the Range Rover Sport SVR. However do not expect the same level of performance as the SVR out of the SVAutobiography. Land Rover has explained that the supercharged V8 has been retuned to be more a comfortable and refined engine than it is in the SVR. Besides this V8, there will also be an SDV8 option as well as a Hybrid SDV6 option to choose from.

However the main selling point of the SVAutobiography is the level of luxury on the inside, rather than the performance figures. Inside, the interior is a beautiful blend of machined aluminium and sumptuous leather. There is also an option known as “Event Seating”, where potential owners may add two extra seats on the tailgate, allowing you to enjoy a nice picnic in the British countryside without sitting on the peasant grass and ruining your tweed trousers. There is also a sliding floor in the boot, to aide practicality and ease of use.

The SVAutobiography is an interesting take on luxury. Rather than taking the Germanic route and stuffing the car with new technology and gadgetry to take the stress out of driving, Land Rover has opted for a more old-school concept of luxury. There are strong elements of craftsmanship and tailoring going on in the SVAutobiography. In fact, the chief designer of Land Rover has described this car as being “an office or dining room on wheels”.

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There is however one problem with the SVAutobiography. This new car has now set the bar for luxury within the Jaguar Land Rover brand.  Suddenly the Jaguar XJ, which for years has been the luxury model for Jaguar Land Rover, does not feel as luxurious as the SVAutobiography. I suspect there is reason behind this. The SVAutobiography is now the most luxurious model to take on the Bentleys and Rolls Royces of this world, where is the XJ will take on the next tier of automotive luxury, the Mercedes’ and BMWs of this world.

After much consideration, I have come to realise that this move makes sense for Jaguar Land Rover. Both Rolls Royce and Bentley, along with other brands like Lamborghini and Maserati, are designing cars to enter the SUV market with. However while the Lamborghini and Maserati SUVs will be more performance orientated, to rival the Porsche Cayenne, the Rolls Royce and Bentley SUVs will offer a more luxurious and cosseting SUV. This is an area Land Rover should very well be dominating, because at the end of the day, it is their area of expertise.  Land Rover is one of the strongest names in the SUV world, so a move upmarket is a chance for Land Rover to make themselves more credible in the luxury market.

This a truly incredible car to behold. Some of the details are incredible, and the images do this car no justice. It might not have the technological prowess of other luxury cars like the Maybach S600 for example, but it certainly has a certain undeniable British charm about it. Check out the video below, created by Land Rover USA, to get a glimpse of this handcrafted British masterpiece.

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New Jaguar XF Revealed

New Jaguar XF Revealed

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Jag has been on a bit of a roll these days. The F-Type is winning over enthusiasts everywhere, the XE looks to be a future hit, and the XJ and first gen XF are selling well. They also have the much-awaited F-Pace SUV in the works. Now, Jag has taken their hugely popular XF, and given it a thorough going over, bringing it up-to-date for 2016.

Due to publicly unveiled next week at the New York Motor Show, the new XF is built on Jaguar’s latest aluminium architecture, as used on the new XE. 75% of the structure is made of aluminium, with steel being used towards the rear of the vehicle. Adding steel to the rear has meant that this new XF has an almost perfect 50:50 weight distribution. This new structure is also 30% stiffer than before and about 190kg lighter than the outgoing model. That is quite a significant diet indeed.

The new XF also uses the same suspension set up as the XE, with double wishbones up front and independent rear suspension in the rear. The electric steering also comes from the XE/F-Type.  A new feature being shown off on the new XF is called Jaguar Configurable Dynamics, a system allowing the driver to set up the steering, damping, gearbox and engine response to suit his particular driving style.

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Engines on the new XF will begin with a 161bhp 2.0 litre “Ingenium” diesel engine, producing just 104 g/km of CO2. There is also a 178bhp version of this engine, both of which are combined with an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The 3.0 litre V6  diesel remains, now producing 296bhp and 700 Nm of juicy torque. Currently, the only petrol engine available is a supercharged V6, as found in the F-Type, producing 375 bhp and 450 Nm of torque.

The biggest change is found in the interior, with a design following closely to the interior found in the XE.  There is a large, tablet-like, 10.2 inch touchscreen, featuring Jaguar’s latest multimedia system.  The instrument cluster has also been replaced with a 12. 3 inch TFT screen, displaying all the usual driver information.

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While only the saloon version will be on shown at the New York Motor Show, expect to see a SportTourer version, and a tyre-munching R version over the coming years. The new XF should reach showrooms by the end of the year.

Jaguar wants a ghost car to guide you to your destination

Jaguar wants a ghost car to guide you to your destination

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Navigation in cars isn’t really ideal at the moment. Most have an aftermarket GPS system or smartphone stuck to their windscreen. Newer cars these days have navigation systems built into a screen in the dash, but very few actually have displays built close to the driver’s line of sight, such as in the instrument cluster. Fewer still incorporate navigational directions in a HUD in the driver’s sight line.

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M3? What M3?

M3? What M3?

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BMW M3

2014 was the year the latest generation M3 came, saw and conquered the compact sports saloon market.  If there is one thing that BMW has always done, is assess the current situation of what an ideal sports saloon should be and react accordingly. The latest generation is no exception. For 2014, BMW has laid their glorious 414 bhp V8 engine to rest, arguing that eight cylinders has no place in today’s polar bear friendly, tree-hugging society. So instead its back to the straight-six engine, a tried and tested formula.

This twin-turbo six-cylinder now produces 425 bhp, and hits 62 mph in 4.3 seconds if you opt for the manual gearbox and 4.1 seconds if you go for the dual-clutch gearbox. Great, who doesn’t love a new BMW M3?

Me, actually. Its nothing personal to BMW, they apparently make some great cars, but I find them a tad dull nowadays. Everybody who has a little cash goes out and buys a BMW because that is what everyone buys. OK, fair enough, they are built like tanks, they are fast and economical and do everything you could ever want. I accept all your arguments as valid and true, but it is not very exciting, is it?

Let us take their design. Today all BMWs look like pigs with their huge kidney grilles. What happened to the days of the cool understated designs of BMW, like the E39 5-Series?Those were lovely. Even the interior was quite lovely despite that car being designed in the plastic-centric, 90s. Nowadays, if you step into a modern BMW, you might as well be sitting in a 1980s office block. Its so uninspiring, so lacking in any sort of flair. Audi is miles ahead in the interior design department, as is Mercedes, with both offering a sense of class in their interiors that the BMW cannot even begin to match.

Thankfully, there are car manufacturers who have seen that there are those who yearn for a sports saloon that is not a BMW. Within the next couple of years, they will grace us with their alternative to the cold-hearted M3.

First up, is Jaguar with their new XE compact saloon. This is there first proper jab at the 3-Series since the woeful X-Type that really isn’t worth mentioning. While the details are rather sparse at the moment, what is being hinted does sound quite interesting. As is the norm with current Jaguars, it will be built from aluminium, keeping weight to the minimum and a range of  newly designed four-pot engines ensures adequate performance and excellent economy. However what is of particular interest is the range-topping XE-R. Rumours seem to suggest that this latest “R” will get the V6 engine straight out of the F-Type. Imagine that awe-inspiring engine in a four-door! Taking the kids to school has never been noisier.

Jaguar XE Render
Jaguar XE Render

Secondly is the long-awaited Alfa Romeo Giulia QV.  Last May, Fiat held a press conference to highlight where the company would be heading over the next five years. Among those plans is the replacement for the 159. Yes, that is still happening. No, I do not know what it is going to look like. However, here is what I do know. Like the XE, it will have a set of new 4 cylinder engines for the economy minded buyers. For those with feet of lead and a yearning for tyre-smoke, there shall be a new V6. Yes you read correctly, the Alfa V6 lifes on, and Alfa’s answer to the M3 will make use of this new V6 engine producing nearly 500 bhp. From a six cylinder motor! My kind of car, really.

Volvo has also been pretty busy on the sports saloon front too. Yes, those crazy Swedes have made a car that doesn’t cushion your ear if you hit an amoeba. A car to take them into the exclusive club of the fast saloon category. A car to take on the might of the M3. Well, sort of.  The S60/V60 (depending on whether you want a station wagon or a saloon) is about 85 bhp down from the M3, but at 345 bhp, it is still a worthy member of this highly exclusive club. All that power also comes from a revised six-cylinder motor.  The downside? It is not exactly a full production car, it was built in limited numbers.

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The Polestar also comes in other colours in case blue isn’t really your thing.

What else have we got to look forward to in this segment? Well since Mercedes recently revealed an all new C-Class, its pretty safe to assume there will be an AMG on the way too. Audi also has a brand new A4 in the pipeline and I am pretty sure that an RS4 will be a given too.  The future of the fast saloon lives on, in incredible style.